We’ve had millions of ASP.NET and PHP community application downloads from the Windows Web Application Gallery and Web Platform Installer since we launched a year ago. Once a user selects “Install” from the Web App Gallery, Web Platform Installer (WebPI) orchestrates the deployment experience for all of the Web applications (here’s a 7 minute video on how downloading an app from the Windows Web App Gallery works).
Let’s say that you want to build your own Web site or control panel that displays all or a subset of the applications in the Web Application Gallery. You can integrate the same Web application ATOM feed that both Web Platform Installer and Web Application Gallery consume. Because you are using the same ATOM feed as one we use for Web Platform Installer and Web App Gallery, the ATOM feed provides a single source of links to application packages from the communities themselves. In other words, you don’t have to coordinate with the community itself to get an updated package – the ATOM feed links to the packages on the community site that already have the Web Deploy integration required for easy deployment onto Windows.
We have a few hosting partners who have already done this. One is Reliable Hosting, which provides virtual, dedicated, co-location, and streaming hosting. Here’s an article that talks about Reliable Site’s integration of the Web App Gallery feed: http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/021910_ReliableSite_Integrates_Microsoft_Web_Application_Gallery_into_Control_Panel
Here’s how another partner, DotNetPanel, provides the application integration into their control panel. As you can tell, DotNetPanel uses the feed but applies their own custom look-and-feel to the application list.
DotNetPanel also displays the details page differently from Web Platform Installer or Windows Web Application Gallery, according to the DotNetPanel design guidelines for their control panel.
Once a user clicks install, the Web Platform Installer experience takes over and handles the deployment – including dependencies – for the application itself. Partners can’t customize the Web Platform Installer application itself, other than using the custom tab extensibility model.
If you want to learn more about how to integrate the Web App Gallery application feed into your application, check out this article which talks in detail about how to get started consuming the application ATOM feed.